The wife of Phinehas comes in during a very bad time in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel chapter 4 tells all about it. The Israelites were fighting against the Philistines (again) and had already been defeated once. When they regrouped to go back out and fight, they decided to take the ark of God with them. Surely, this would help them win the battle! Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The Israelites suffered an even greater defeat than before. Thousands of soldiers were killed. The ark of God was captured by the Philistines. Phinehas and his brother, Hophni, were dead. These two brothers were the sons of Eli.
Eli was a high priest and a judge of Israel. He was an old man now. When Eli heard that his two sons had died and the ark of God had been captured, the Bible says that he fell backward off his seat, broke his neck, and died.
The bad news continued to travel. It soon reached his pregnant daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife. When Phinehas’ wife heard that the ark of God was captured, her father-in-law was dead, and her husband was dead, she immediately went into labor. The women who were with her told her not to fear because she would give birth to a baby boy. But Phinehas’ wife was so distraught, she didn’t care. Right after the baby came and right before she died, Phinehas’ wife named her son Ichabod, which means ‘no glory’.
Here her story comes to an end and here we take our lesson.
1. Phinehas’ wife lost hope. It’s true that Phinehas’ wife was in a tough place. Her father-in-law died. Her brother-in-law died. Her husband died. Her country had just been defeated in battle. The ark of God was now in the hands of enemies. And here she was about to have a baby. Few of us would have responded better, probably.
Bad news often hits us like a bat, leaving us upset and depressed (not to mention with a very painful bruise). But God does not want us to despair in difficult times. He wants us to trust Him. Psalm 42:5 reads: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
God is a God of hope. When it seems the world has forgotten you, God still cares deeply about you.
Getting back up after an unexpected blow is not easy. It is in these hard times that we need to take a fresh hold of God. Remember, He is our Rock and our Comforter. God won’t ever leaves us alone or forsake us. He is always near.
When our faith is secure in Him, we will never declare ‘no glory’ over a situation. Deep in our hearts we will know that a light is at the end of the dark tunnel, tears do not last forever, and joy is mightier than misery.
There is always, always, always hope.